There is a Varberg that travel brochures want to depict and then there’s Gästis’ view of Varberg. Read all about hotel owner Lasse Diding’s hidden gems in the town where he grew up.
“I had easily been able to make my list of hidden gems in Varberg twice as long. Today it is possibly the most raved about tourist destination in Sweden and it’s great to be able to direct people to places I’ve learnt to love and nowadays need daily contact with. Varberg really is a truly special place!”
1. The Marine Museum – a museum that’s definitely my cup of tea with more than a million items. A real collector’s museum.
2. Grimeton Radio Station – The only World Heritage Site in the county of Halland and – to top it off – in areas I remember from my childhood, well, it’s an absolute must. As early as 1924, wireless telegraph messages were transmitted from this place and all the way to America.
3. Varberg square – I sold lilies of the valley here when I was only four years old and I lived about 50 metres away. All year round, there’s a market here every Wednesday and Saturday.
4. The Seafront promenade – Locals and everyone else have strolled on this promenade, back and forth along the Kattegat coastline for more than 100 years.
5. Open Air Bath (Kallbadhuset) – I took my first (and last?) dry strokes in the sand by this architectural dream of Moorish design, when learning how to swim by the Children’s beach.
6. Halland Museum of Cultural History – At this museum, located inside Varberg Castle, the bullet that almost as a blessing for the Swedes took the life of the mad warrior king, Karl XII is on display. You’ll also find the most famous murder victim from the Swedish Middle Ages, namely Bockstensmannen.
7. Komedianten – Our lovely new Culture & Arts Centre that all the locals, including myself, have embraced with open arms.
8. Hotel Havanna – My own newly realised dream referring to the city I’ve visited more than ten times. Gästis’ sister hotel and Varberg’s best and most pleasant restaurant. Open daily for food, beverages and thick Havana cigars.
9. The nude bathing – As a very young and curious lad, I could spy on the ladies at their nude hideaway. And I can tell you that they’re still there to this day!
10. Restaurant Zorba – A cosy Greek establishment just around the corner from Gästis.
11. Vera’s Café – As of seven years ago, I come here every morning to eat Vera’s homemade cakes and write my diary.
12. The tennis courts – Between the ages of ten and fifteen, I spent near enough every waking moment here.
13. Societetsparken – In the middle of this park, where high society used to mingle, is the wishing well and on Monday morning of yesteryears one could come here and significantly increase one’s pocket money with the help of a squeegee.
14. The harbour – From this spot I watched the Europafärjan (ferry) leave on her maiden voyage bound for Grenå in Denmark. She’s still running today.
15. Bird sanctuary Getteröns Naturum – This famous creation, established by my uncle O.F. Reuterwall, never appealed to young Lasse, but it does attract thousands of picky birdwatchers.
16. Getterön airfield – To have seen Varberg from above, through the window of a single-engine Cessna is something I won’t forget for a long time.
17. Majas vid Havet – The biggest music acts in Sweden come here to play in something of an intimate club venue. Good food and drink too!
18. Nöjesparken – The world-famous clown trio from Varberg, 1-2-3 Schtunk, performs here. More and more fans gather every summer.
19. Jan Myrdal’s library – My favourite author together with all his 50,000 books has now set up camp in my former home. Most definitely worth a visit!